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Abdullah should haul up the Tourism Minister and Kedah Mentri Besar for their dilly-dally in the past fortnight to protect the good name of the country in the scandalous khalwat raid of an elderly foreign couple in Langkawi  by the Kedah Islamic Affairs Department 

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  


(Parliament, Saturday) :  The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should haul up the Tourism Minister, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and the Kedah Mentri Besar  Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid for their dilly-dally in the past fortnight to protect the good name of the country in the scandalous khalwat raid of an elderly foreign couple in Langkawi by the Kedah Islamic Affairs Department.


Retired American policeman Randall Barnhart, 62, and his wife Carole,  61, were humiliated when they were subject to a khalwat raid by the Kedah Islamic Affairs Department officers on Oct. 12 at their condominium unit in Langkawi.

New Sunday Times of 22nd October 2006, in its report “Anti-khalwat men terrify elderly foreign couple” asked:

“Imagine being accused of khalwat despite being in your 60s and married for 42 years. Imagine being a grandmother of four and having to stand in front of men, dressed only in a sarong covering your body.”


Barnhart and his wife were asleep at 2 am when there was pounding on the door by enforcement officers accusing them of committing khalwat.


The officers demanded to see their  marriage certificate although he had told them that they were Christians and should not be subjected to Islamic law.


Today’s  Star report “Couple in khalwat raid may drop second home plan”quoted Banhard as reconsidering his plan to make Malaysia his second home.


It reported the couple as still suffering from the traumatic effects of the khalwat raid, viz:

“We find it difficult to forget the unpleasant episode. My wife was so terrified by the incident that she fears sleeping in that condominium,” he added.  

Banhart said the officers were rude and insisted on “seeing the woman” when he opened the door. 

“My wife had to show herself despite only having a sarong on at that time. We felt humiliated for being treated this way,” he said. 

He said he had to send his wife back to the United States on the next available flight because she feared people might return to the condominium to terrify her in the middle of the night. 

She flew home on Wednesday.  

“I want the religious department to apologise to me and my wife in writing,” he added.  

“I also want the department to compensate the RM4,315 I had to pay for the return ticket so that my wife could go home.”  

Barnhart’s demand for compensation of RM4,314 to pay for Carole’s return ticket is fair and reasonable and should be acceded to by the Kedah Islamic Affairs Department, which should in turn impose a levy on the six officers to cover the compensation.  This will send a salutary message to the enforcement officers that they would have to pay a penalty for gross abuses of power.


As for the apology, it should come not only from the Kedah Islamic Affairs Department, it should also be tendered by the Kedah Mentri Besar as the head of government.


The reason why the Prime Minister should intervene is because the inexcusable dilly-dally by the Tourism Minister and the Kedah Mentri Besar to resolve this scandalous matter fairly and expeditiously had further stained the nation’s reputation.


The New Sunday Times report of 22nd October said the Tourism Minister, Tengku Adnan took a serious view of the incident and he had ordered the Tourism Board “to get to the bottom of things” as such incidents “spoil the country’s image”.


Yet in the Star today, the Kedah Mentri Besar could feign ignorance to say that he would check with the state Religious Department to find out what really happened, and there is no word of the outcome of Tengku Adnan’s “serious view”.


Imagine the Kedah Mentri Besar claiming a week after the New Sunday Times report that “I was not informed about this. I will find out what really happened before making any comment”.


Abdullah should haul up  both Tengku Adnan and Mahdzir  and reprimand them for their dilatoriness, inefficiency and incompetence in failing to satisfactorily and responsibly  resolving the disgraceful khalwat raid and terrorizing of the elderly foreign couple -  totally at odds with the Prime Minister’s slogan of “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang” (Excellence, Glory, Distinction)!


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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